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Ten Years After Surviving 9/11, Free Willie Nelson is Felled by Fire

Mr. Britt talks to insurersStephen Rex Brown Ron Britt, the owner of the Free Willie Nelson, in front of his damaged RV

The East Village’s most recognizable recreational vehicle caught on fire this morning, destroying the engine and leaving its mellow owner bummed but not brokenhearted.

The Free Willie Nelson, a 1973 Dodge Mahal Travco known for its whale-themed paint job and cowboy-style interior, was set ablaze by an electrical fire at around 8:55 a.m. on Sixth Street near Avenue A.

“A neighborhood icon comes to rest,” said Darryl Thompson, a musician. “Man, this sucks. I slept many nights in this thing — it’s like my old buddy.” Read more…

The Day | Irene Approaches, And Charlie Parker Festival is Swept Away

Astor PlaceScott Lynch

According to DNAinfo and other sites, including’s slow-moving Office of Emergency Management page, parts of the East Village are among the “Zone A” areas most at risk should Hurricane Irene strike Manhattan: “In the East Village, Zone A extends to Avenue D from East 4th Street to East 8th Street. From there, it extends to Avenue B up to 14th Street.” If evacuations are called for, shelters opening at 4 pm on  Friday include Seward Park High School (350 Grand Street) and Baruch College (East 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue). Hurricane or no hurricane, the Tompkins Square Park leg of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, on Sunday, has been canceled, according to a press release picked up by Brooklyn Vegan.

Both the Villager and EV Grieve have the latest on what the Parks Department is doing to fight the Tompkins Square Park rats. NY1 also ran a story, and shortly before 11 p.m. last night, The Local spotted “Inside Edition” filming a segment that a crewperson said would air in about two or three weeks. Neither More Nor Less has photos.

Amidst worries that the Free Willie Nelson has been parking in Park Slope lately, The Daily News profiles the iconic RV and its owner Ron Britt, who says he wanted the vehicle’s interior to feel “a little like a Texas whorehouse.” Read more…